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Crooks are targeting this easy money app on your phone

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Crooks are targeting this easy money app on your phone

Venmo has grown in popularity, and for a good reason, because it is so easy and convenient to send and receive money electronically between you and another person. 

It operates as a digital wallet linked to your bank account or debit card, which enables you to make payments quickly and easily to other Venmo users. The service is popular among younger generations as it provides a simple and social way to split bills or pay back friends for shared expenses.

Additionally, Venmo offers a social feed feature that allows you to see and comment on your friends’ transactions, adding an element of social interaction to the platform. It is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

iPhone: 4.9 stars (at time of publishing)

Android: 4.2 stars (at time of publishing)

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However, with all that ease comes much targeting from scammers who want to steal your money, although unlike U.S. bank accounts, Venmo balances are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 

Let’s review what kind of Venmo scams to look out for and how to protect yourself.

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Venmo is an app that lets you pay from a linked bank account or debit card. (CyberGuy.com)

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Is Venmo safe to use?

Venmo uses multi-factor authentication to secure logins and encrypts all transactions to ensure the safety of your personal information. Also, you have the ability to manage your privacy and passcode settings, adding another layer of protection to your Venmo account. As a result, I would say Venmo is generally considered a safe platform to use.

However, it was designed to use with people you know and trust, such as your friends and family members, and not random people you’ve never met. When making a transaction with a person for the first time, Venmo will even ask that you enter the person’s last four digits of their phone number as an extra safety precaution.

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Even with these safety measures, however, people still get tricked by scams on Venmo. A common trick that scammers will use is phishing emails. A scammer will send you an email and claim to be a representative of Venmo and trick you into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal details by asking you to send your personal information or click a suspicious link to “update your password” or something of that nature. These emails often mimic legitimate communications.

These kinds of scams can occur via text message or phone call as well, and unsuspecting victims may accidentally give out their banking information or even their Social Security numbers.

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IS YOUR NEW ANDROID PHONE OR TV BOX ONE OF THE MILLIONS IMPACTED BY PREINSTALLED MALWARE?

Screenshot of a Venmo scam.

Scammers are using phishing emails to trick you into giving away your information. Here’s what to know.items (CyberGuy.com)

Scammers who are trying to sell you things online, such as on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, will also often ask for people to pay them through Venmo. This is because Venmo’s user agreement and terms of service state that the app is meant to be used for transactions between people who know each other personally or have an established business relationship.

Scammers may ask for payment through Venmo because they know that the app lacks buyer protections and dispute resolution options. Venmo transactions are instant and irreversible, which means that if you send money to a scammer, it may be difficult or impossible to get your money back.

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What types of Venmo scams should I look out for?

  • Requests for personal information: Venmo will never ask you for personal or sensitive information via email, text message, or phone.
  • Rental lease offers: If you’re looking for a place to rent and the landlord asks you to pay upfront via Venmo, don’t fall for it.
  • Random prizes or rewards: Sometimes scammers will put up fake competitions and offer to send prize money via Venmo, but will then ask for a person’s Venmo login info to send the money. This is a common scam.
  • Overpayment scams: Scammers may overpay you for an item or service and ask you to refund the difference. Once you refund the money, the scammer cancels the payment, leaving you with no money and no item or service.

THE URGENT IPHONE WARNING YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE

How can I avoid being part of a Venmo scam?

  • Look at the email address: Look closely at the address of the sender if they claim to be from Venmo. If you Google it and it’s an official email address, then it should come up right away. If it doesn’t, then it’s not really Venmo.
  • Watch out for fake accounts: Scammers commonly create fake Venmo accounts claiming to be real people and will then ask family and friends of that person for money. Reach out to a person directly before sending them money.
  • Public transactions: Be cautious about making your transactions public on Venmo, as scammers can use this information to target you with phishing scams or other fraudulent activities.

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What to do if you believe you have been scammed on Venmo

1) The first thing you should do is contact Venmo support immediately and report the fraudulent transaction. They can provide guidance and assistance in resolving the issue.

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2) Second, if you used your bank account or credit card to fund the Venmo transaction, contact your bank or credit card issuer to report the fraud and dispute the charge.

3) The third step is to change your Venmo password immediately to prevent further unauthorized transactions.

4) Also, if you believe you have been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the fraudulent activity.

5) If you feel your personal data has been stolen, and you want a service that will walk you through every step of the reporting and recovery process, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from this type of fraud is to subscribe to an identity theft protection company.  

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This service will monitor personal information like your Home title, Social Security Number (SSN), phone number, and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or being used to open an account. They can also assist you in freezing your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals. One of the best parts of using some services is that they might include identity theft insurance of up to 1 million dollars to cover losses and legal fees and a white glove fraud resolution team where a U.S.-based case manager helps you recover any losses.

See my tips and best picks on how to protect yourself from identity theft by visiting CyberGuy.com/IdentityTheft.

6) Lastly, always report the scammer. If you have any information about the scammer, such as their name, phone number, or email address, report it to Venmo and the authorities.

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND STOP APPS THAT ARE LISTENING TO YOU

Kurt’s key takeaways

While Venmo is a convenient and widely used platform for electronic money transfers, you should remain vigilant against scams by being cautious of phishing emails, avoiding transactions with unknown individuals, and protecting personal information. If scammed, you should report the incident to Venmo, contact your bank or credit card issuer, change your password and file a complaint with the FTC while also providing any available information about the scammer to authorities. 

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Do you feel protected against the growing number of scams? What are your tools and tips? Let us know so we can alert others by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tips, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to CyberGuy.com/Newsletter.

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Google reveals the Pixel 9 Pro Fold before it can leak again

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Google reveals the Pixel 9 Pro Fold before it can leak again

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After showing an early look at the Pixel 9 Pro, Google has taken the wraps off the Pixel 9 Pro Fold, too.

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How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

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How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Keeping your personal information safe is more important than ever. Your iPhone and iPad contain a wealth of sensitive data, from personal photos to financial information. This guide will walk you through the process of securing your Apple devices from prying eyes.

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iPad and iPhone on table (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Setting a strong passcode

The first line of defense for your device is a strong passcode. Here’s how to set one up:

  • Open Settings by tapping on the Settings icon on your home screen
  • Scroll down and select Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode for older models)
  • Enter your current passcode, if prompted
How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Steps to set a strong passcode on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

  • If you don’t have a passcode set, tap Turn Passcode On
How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Steps to set a strong passcode on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

  • If you do have a passcode set, tap Change Passcode
  • Enter your current passcode, if prompted
  • Enter a new passcode that is difficult to guess; avoid simple sequences, repeated numbers or birthdays
  • For maximum security, use a combination of numbers, letters and special characters
  • You’ll then be asked to verify your new passcode by reentering it.
How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Steps to set a strong passcode on iPhone (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IPHONE & IPAD FROM MALWARE

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Enabling biometric security

For an additional layer of security, enable biometric authentication, if your device supports it:

  • Go to Settings on your iPhone
  • Tap Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode
  • Enter your passcode when prompted.
  • Tap Set Up Face ID or Set Up Touch ID
How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Steps to enable biometric security (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

  • Tap where it says Get Started to begin the enrollment process
  • Then follow the on-screen instructions to enroll your face or fingerprint
  • For Face ID: Position your face within the frame and move your head slowly to complete the circle. Follow the prompts to complete the first scan, then repeat for the second scan.
  • For Touch ID: Place your finger on the Home button and lift it repeatedly as instructed. Adjust your grip to capture the edges of your fingerprint.
  • Once the process is complete, tap Done
  • Lastly, ensure the toggle for iPhone Unlock is turned on to use Face ID or Touch ID for unlocking your device
How to securely lock your iPhone, iPad from prying eyes

Steps to enable biometric security (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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5 additional security measures

To further protect your iPhone and iPad, follow these additional security measures.

1) Make sure to use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords. It will also help you generate and store complex passwords. 

2) Use two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra shield to prevent hackers from getting into your accounts. 

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3) Keep your operating system and all software up to date to protect against security threats.

4) Regularly backup your data in case you need to restore it in the future.

5) Have strong antivirus software. The best way to protect yourself from clicking malicious links that install malware that may get access to your private information is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices. This can also alert you of any phishing emails or ransomware scams. Get my picks for the best 2024 antivirus protection winners for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

HOW TO REMOVE YOUR PRIVATE DATA FROM THE INTERNET

Kurt’s key takeaways 

Securing your iPhone and iPad is a crucial step in protecting your personal information. By following these steps to set a strong passcode and enable biometric security, you’ve significantly increased the security of your device. Remember that security is an ongoing process, so regularly updating your software and backing up your data are essential practices to maintain the safety of your digital life. Stay vigilant and keep your devices locked away from prying eyes.

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What additional steps do you take to secure your mobile devices, and have you ever experienced a situation where these security measures proved crucial? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

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Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Splitgate’s portal-hopping sequel announced for 2025

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Splitgate’s portal-hopping sequel announced for 2025

Splitgate isn’t dead yet. On Thursday, developer 1047 Games revealed a cinematic trailer for Splitgate 2, a revamped version of the free-to-play multiplayer shooter, which uses the same portal mechanic that made the game so fun the first time around.

When Splitgate 2 launches in 2025, it will come with some notable upgrades. The developers say they’ve “rebuilt everything from the ground up” in Unreal Engine 5 and also added a new faction-based system. “There will be familiar elements, but on the whole, Splitgate 2 should look and feel completely fresh from the original,” 1047 Games says.

While the Splitgate 2 trailer doesn’t feature actual gameplay, it does give us a peek at the Splitgate world 1047 Games is focused on building. There’s a new mobile companion app you can download on Android and iOS that has free comics, rewards, and other features. I have to admit, I didn’t expect much from a sequel after the end of the first Splitgate — but the new focus on lore has me looking forward to getting back into the game.

The Splitgate sequel will remain free to play and will be available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. 1047 Games says it will have more details to share about the game in August.

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